Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 20: Recap and Review

Nonstandard (Kikaku-gai

The battle between Aoi Todo, Yuji, and Hanami continues in episode 20 of Jujutsu Kaisen. The two best friends rush the special grade, cursed spirit. Hanami grabs Todo with one of its roots, flinging him towards a series of spikes it created. Aoi uses his Innate Technique: Boogie Woogie. He switches places with Hanami. Boogie Woogie is a simple technique that allows Aoi to “switch places with another person or object by clapping his hands.” As Yuji and Aoi attack Hanami, Aoi switches himself and Yuji multiple times. They disorient Hanami. The curse cannot tell if they’re being switched or if Aoi is moving Hanami. Suddenly, Yuji hits Hanami with four consecutive Black Flash strikes. With Hanami weakened by the attacks, Aoi prepares to exorcise Hanami.

Hanami uses Cursed Bud to absorb cursed energy from Yuji and Aoi. Todo switches Hanami and Yuji to protect Yuji. He prepared to block the attack with a cursed energy barrier. Aoi is reminded by Takada-chan about what happened to Megumi when he was injured by the Cursed Bud. Jujutsu Kaisen is interesting in that it sometimes answers or introduces issues that most Shonen wouldn’t. What I mean is that normally Aoi wouldn’t make the mistake of using the wrong technique in the first place or he would and suffer the consequences. Jujutsu Kaisen makes its characters feel more realistic by occasionally allowing them to make the wrong decision by correcting themselves quickly. This is even more surprising because Aoi initially seems like a dumb muscle head.

Gojo is untouchable

However, he is more emotionally mature than assumed and is smarter. Pushed to its limits, Hanami converts the nearby plant life into energy, forcing the flower on its shoulder to bud, revealing an eye. However, before Hanami can activate its Domain Expansion, Gojo ends the veil. The fandom is in love with Gojo. He a Bishonen character, who are known for their androgynous looks and “expressive eyes.” Gojo also is too powerful and would end every fight. As a result, he needs to be removed from interfering with a fight in order to make it competitive. It’s not much different from One punch Man. However, everyone knows Gojo is too strong. I’ll be curious how they remove him from now on or if Geto’s plan will actually work.

Regardless, Gojo continues to impress. After severing the limbs of Juzo Kumiya, he destroys the landscape by combining his Cursed Technique Lapse: Blue and Cursed Technique Reversal: Red to create his Hollow Purple technique. Hanami attempts to escape, but it’s unclear that whether it was exorcised or not. I think Hanami escaped, especially because it didn’t get to use its Domain Expansion. Mahito meanwhile stole Cursed Womb: Death Painting 1-3 and a Sukuna finger. The only downside to this episode is that much of the action outside the fight with Hanami feels like an afterthought. The fight between Juzo Kumiya and Gankuganji went nowhere, and Haruta and Utahime’s fight never starts. You can’t do everything, but I think they could have balanced all these fights better. The Kyoto Goodwill Event ends without a victor, except for Mahito.


Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 19: Recap and Review

Episode 19 – ‘Black Flash (Kokusen)’

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 19, Black Flash, opens with Megumi, Toge, and Noritoshi fleeing from Hanami. Toge uses his cursed speech to stop Hanami in its tracks. Noritoshi then uses his Blood Manipulation: Convergence – Piercing Blood. It does mild damage, but Hanami heals. The most vulnerable place on Hanami’s body seems to be its branches that grow from its eye sockets. Noritoshi intents to repeat the game plan over and over. Toge stops Hanami, Megumi and Noritoshi attack. They hope to reach the outside of the curtain. Their plan fails. Toge stalls as his throat bleeds. The difference in strength between Hanami and Toge causes strain on his throat. Megumi prepares to use his secret attack. However, Toge stops him. He uses the last of his strength to say, “blast away,” sending Hanami flying into the roof.

Jujutsu Kaisen has tried hiding Megumi’s secret technique several times in the series. Obviously they saving it for the best moment, but the constant interrupting is feeling silly. It’s fine to avoid using all the techniques too early in the series, but telling the audience that Megumi has the powerful ability but won’t use it is odd. Especially considering that they needed help against Hanami. Maki appears. She attacks Hanami with Kasumi’s katana, but it snaps against the curses skin. Megumi pulls out a three-section staff, special grade cursed tool: Playful Cloud, for Maki. She doesn’t do any damage but sends Hanami flying through the forest. Meanwhile, Megumi attacks with Divine Dog Totality, cutting into the arm of Hanami. It doesn’t matter though. Hanami regenerates.

The Black Flash

Megumi and Maki tag team Hanami, using cursed tools against the cursed spirit. Unfortunately, Megumi is attacked with a cursed bud sprout. It feeds off of cursed energy. Despite this, Megumi prepares to use cursed techniques anyway, even if he dies. Maki stops him. Aoi Todo and Yuji crash down. Todo continues his role as mentor towards Yuji. He says that he won’t “help until Yuji unleashes the Black Flash.” Yuji fails at first but Todo tells him “not to rely too heavily on anger.” Jujutsu Kaisen’s power system is complicated. It’s based on negative human emotion, but too much negativity apparently can backfire. The Black Flash is an example of its difficulty. The Black Flash is a “distortion in space” that occurs when a sorcerer applies “their cursed energy within one millionth of a second.”

It can’t be done deliberately, even Gojo can’t do it when he wants. Aoi praises Yuji for his “growth.” The friendship between Todo and Yuji at first was shallow. It’s becoming a deeper relationship. With Aoi now fights with Yuji against Hanami. Sensing that the fight will become more difficult, Hanami reveals its left arm. It’s black with a red rose at the shoulder. Hanami unleashes giant roots, forcing Yuji and Aoi to dodge. The scene is the highlight of the episode. Before the two sorcerers can get the advantage, Hanami releases the roots. Todo and Yuji fall. Hanami attacks, but Aoi and Yuji dodge midair by pushing off each other. The act symbolises the closeness that Yuji and Aoi’s relationship has reached. As Hanami admits that it’s “enjoying the fight” Todo prepares to use his cursed technique.


Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 18: Recap and Review

Hanami aims to fight for mother Earth by killing humanity in episode 18 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Hanami aims to fight for mother Earth by killing humanity

Episode 18 – “Sage”

After the last episode, Jujutsu Kaisen episode 18 had a lot to live up to. I didn’t. It not a problem, however. Megumi runs through the temple, evading arrows embedded with cursed energy. He has no trouble avoiding them. Megumi breaks one arrow, resulting in blood splattering on the wall. Noritoshi Kamo uses the Blood Manipulation. An inherited technique in the Kamo family, the technique “grants Noritoshi the ability to control all aspects of his blood.” Jujutsu Kaisen has made a point of highlighting the “Three families.” These families hold prestige in the Jujutsu Kaisen universe. Megumi Fushiguro is a member of the Zenin family, but it’s not clear what his exact relationship is to Maki and Mai. Like Kamo, he’s inherited a valued technique from the Zenin family, the Ten Shadow Technique. This ability allows him to summon ten different shikigami using shadows.

Noritoshi Kamo uses his Flowing Red Scale technique. He can increase his “body temperature, pulse rate, and the number of red blood cells to give themselves increased energy and physical abilities.” His speed and strength increases. He’s able to dominate Megumi but doesn’t do too much direct damage. Elsewhere, Toge unlocks Mechamaru’s phone and uses it to call Kasumi and tell her to “sleep.” Suddenly, he notices a dark presence. In the observing room, Principal Gakuganji remembers assigning a cursed spirit intended to kill Yuji. That curse spirit is killed by Hanami. Mahito and the other curses have interrupted the Goodwill Event.

The Goodwill Event is invaded

Back at the fight between Noritoshi and Megumi, Noritoshi remembers his childhood. His mother was his fathers, making him an illegitimate heir. The Kamo family valued Noritoshi’s blood manipulation, so they made him legitimate. He tries to relate to Megumi. Noritoshi rejects this familiarity. Unlike Noritoshi, he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the three clans. Using a toad to distract Noritoshi, Megumi uses his latest shikigami, Max Elephant. The elephant fills the corridor with water, forcing Noritoshi outside. With Noritoshi vulnerable, Megumi uses Nue to electrocute him. Remembering his mother, Noritoshi is determined to win. He uses Crimson Binding on Nue. Preparing to fight, a mass of branches approach them. Toge is being chased by them and he orders Megumi and Noritoshi to run.”

The wall of talismans burn red, symbolising the end of Goodwill event. Realizing that “unregistered curses” has invaded, Yaga leaves Gojo and Gakuganji to protect the students. A special “curtain” is created that keeps Gojo out. This leaves Gakuganji and Utahime to face Juzo. The old man takes out a guitar and dares Juzo to try him. I gotta say, Gakuganji using a guitar comes out of nowhere. Obviously, we don’t know what his technique is, but he seemed too serious to have a potentially fun set of abilities. Historically, the old man in anime is a badass. I don’t expect Gakuganji to be any different. The students encounter Hanami. Toge uses his cursed speech to paralyze Hanami, who communicates with the students telepathically. Hanami claims to only want “to protect the planet and asks the sorcerers to die and become sages.”

Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 17: Recap and Review

Maki declares her intent to return to lead the Zenin Clan in episode 17 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Maki declares her intent to return to lead the Zenin Clan

Episode 17 – “Kyoto Sister School Goodwill Event – Team Battle, Part 3”

Jujutsu Kaisen continues to get better. Episode 17 is by far the best. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 17 balances the complex and emotional relationship between Mai and Maki while giving us wall to wall action with the highest animation quality. The episode opens with Kasumi recalling how Mai belittled the abilities of her sister. She claims Maki “was weak and forever a grade 4 sorcerer.” This false impression backfires on Kasumi. Faced with the actual Maki, she knows Mai was wrong. Maki overpowers her, forcing Kasumi into a defensive position. She tries to use her Simple Domain ability. However, Maki counters the stance by snapping her spear in half and throwing the non-cursed half. She also throws a kunai, forcing Kasumi to move, deactivating the Simple Domain. Maki disarms Kasumi, taking her sword for herself.

Where introduced to a new character, Mei Mei. A pretty sorcerer with pale blue hair in a long braid covering one eye, Mei Mei can see through the eyes of crows. She remarks on the ability of Maki and tells Satoru to promote her. He agrees he should, but the Zenin Family interferes.

Image of Mei Mei. She is introduced for the first time in Jujutsu Kaisen episode 17.
Mei Mei is introduced

I’m Nobara Kugisaki

Elsewhere, Nobara is chasing Momo through the woods. Momo uses a cursed energy wind that keeps Nobara at a distance. Momo explains that “female sorcerers have it harder.” She specifically acknowledges that Mai is under tremendous pressure from the Zenin Family. She explains that she’s considered a “failure” by her family’s standards. Nobara doesn’t care. From her perspective, having a hard life isn’t an excuse for destructive behavior. She notes she hates Mai but loves Maki, both of whom had the same upbringing. Nobara rejects Momo’s sexist ideology, unwilling to limit herself to the gender standards of society.

Nobara attacks Momo with Straw Doll Technique: Hairpin which results in the nails exploding with cursed energy. These explosions cause the trees to fall, allowing Nobara to grab a bristle from Momo’s broom. Using her Straw Doll Technique: Resonance, Nobara dispels the control Momo has over her broom. She crashes to the ground. Nobara approaches Momo and strikes her with a squeaky hammer to avoid killing her. Before she can “finish” Momo, Mai shoots her in the temple with a cursed infused rubber bullet.

Maki dominates Kasumi in combat in episode 17 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Maki dominates Kasumi in combat

Why wouldn’t you stay at the bottom with me?

Like most characters in Jujutsu Kaisen, Mai is more complicated than first assumed. We believed Maki was unfortunate because she couldn’t see curses naturally. Jujutsu Kaisen asks us to consider how it might be a blessing. As a child, Mai was burdened with the ability to see cursed spirits. She was afraid of them. Maki’s inability to see them became a kind of privilege. Maki didn’t fear the cursed spirit, freeing her to pursue her dreams. Mai hated her for it. As Maki moved forward, she left her sister behind. This is at the core of Mai’s bitterness.

During her fight with her sister, she uses her technique, construction. In Jujutsu Kaisen, one can use their cursed energy to “create matter from nothing.” Mai uses this to create a bullet. The matter produced in this way doesn’t disappear after the technique ends. The technique seems to cost Mai as she bleeds from her nose. Regardless, Maki catches the bullet. Mai believes Maki was born with a “Heavenly Restriction” that gave her physical power for a lack of cursed energy. Mai attacks Maki with her revolver but is bested by her sister once again. She hates her sister’s ambition, forcing her to follow. Maki has a talent that Mai lacks, and their clan won’t even acknowledge it (Maki’s talent). Where does this place Mai?


Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 16: Recap and Review

Jujutsu Kaisen episode 16 focuses on the battle between Panda and Mechamaru. Before that, we get to the climax of the fight between Aoi and Yuji. The episode ones with the quote from the “artistic community.” It is said that, “If someone doesn’t have an eye that can judge quality, they can create nothing of value with their hands.” It’s implied that this is true of Jujutsu and that Yuji has the “eye.” Yuji counter’s Aoi’s attacks. Yuji can see through the offense of Aoi and is “growing” as they fight. However, Aoi can still get the best of Yuji. Todo Aoi appears to be a violent and brainless, but he’s proving (at least when fighting) that he’s smart. He’s capable of analyzing the problem’s with Yuji’s Divergent Fist. Yuji leaves behind Cursed Energy because of his “superhuman speed.”

Yuji’s attack is good enough for low-level sorcerer but not a special grade. Like Todo, Yuji is a brawler. He also has intelligence (again when fighting). He quickly deduces that “he must apply Cursed Energy at the exact moment his attack hits.” Aoi teaches him to that “flowing Cursed Energy is something most Sorcerer’s do consciously.” It’s important for Yuji to stop trying to “speed up” his energy flow. Yuji beings to make his cursed energy flow throughout his entire body. Aoi and Yuji prepare to fight, as his new best friend Aoi hopes to lead Yuji to greatness.

Panda is not a Panda

As Nobara and Panda corner Momo, Mechamaru shoots Panda from behind. He feints dying. Meanwhile, Momo decides to “teach” Nobara a listen. When Mechamaru appears, Panda gets up and punches him. It’s revealed that Panda is a mutated Cursed Corpse. Mechamaru is a “puppet.” It’s being controlled by a man named Kokichi. He reveals he has a Heavenly Restriction, an ability that “grants him great levels of Cursed Energy in place of his useless body.” Kokichi is jealous of Panda’s freedom. He attacks with full-power Ultimate Cannon. Pandasurvives. He emerges from the smoke to reveal his Gorilla Mode.

In a flashback, Yaga informs Panda he had an “older brother and sister.” He was born with three cores, meaning that he needs to be hit in all three to be defeated. In his Gorilla Mode, Panda is a powerhouse. He strikes Mechamaru, sending him flying. Panda uses an unblockable “Drum Beat” ability. In close combat, Panda has the advantage. On the roof, Mechamaru distracts Panda by throwing a tile at him. He takes this opportunity to strike at Panda’s core with his elbow boosters. Panda faked the location of the core. He strikes Mechamaru with his palm, destroying the head of the puppet.